Everyone should be lucky enough to have a friend or acquaintance whose recommendations you can always count on. A friend whose record collection you covet, who knows the obscure songs that sound like classics, and who you can’t wait to press play when a new mp3 arrives attached to an email or a mix-tape comes in the mail. While nearly every day here on Sound on the Sound, Noah, curator of the Daily Choice, serves that role in my life (and hopefully for you too), I’m lucky to have a few other acquaintances with nearly flawless recommendation records and Kevin Murphy from The Moondoggies is one of them.
Nearly every time Murphy has passed something my way it inevitably gets played on repeat and purchased, the latest being “White Knuckle” by Reilly Partridge of The Further Adjustments. The Minneapolis based band opened for The Moondoggies on their recent tour and Patridge made such an impression on Murphy, that he covered his song “White Knuckle” at the benefit show for Drew Grow at Columbia City Theater and was kind enough to pass along the original. (Available for download at the end of the post)
Partridge’s “White Knuckle” calls out North Dakota and West Virginia by name, but aches with the anxiety of not knowing your place in the world. “You don’t know how hard it is to be young,” Partridge wails in a gravelly tone that does little to belie his youth. “White Knuckle” might center on a young man’s refrain, but it’s a song with an old soul. I would’ve just have easily believed Murphy had he told me it was an old country song he was covering that night, rather than a song from an up-and-comer. Partridge sings of “broke hearted people going all the way down” like he’s wallowed in the gloomiest depths and of “long nights and short bright days” like a road-weary traveler. And if he’s ever inclined to take that long dark highway on his own to Seattle, songs like “White Knuckle” would surely seem right at home.